Is there much difference between Monster component cables?

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Tom Martin, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. Tom Martin

    Tom Martin Stunt Coordinator

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    I currently have the white coated Monster component cables. i guess they're Monster 1. I want to upgrade to Monster THX certified caomponent cables. will there really be much of a difference? i'll be using it to connect a Denon 910 to a Samsung HDTV.
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The general consensus is that Monster is grossly overpriced for what you get. Others may disagree, but I remain unconvinced that you get any tangible benefit from some of the more rarefied refinements in component cables. As long as they're 75-ohm, well-shielded, and have solid connectors, you're getting as good a signal as you need. I'd say stick with the Monster 1.

    M.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Tom.

    I'm afraid Monster does not publish performance specs for their cables so it is very hard to decide if the extra $$$ is worth it.

    Here is an example of what I would love to have for Monster 1/2/3/Z300 cables:

    [​IMG]

    This would at least let you know the compromise you make.

    My advice: Go to the custom cable sites and buy production-studio grade cables. Starting at about $50 these cables rival the Monster Z300 series of cables (running about $220 per set). This thread on What cables should I buy? will give you a list.

    Something to think about: Did you know that component cables are designed to handle a frequency that was considered high-tech in 1940? Does that nice package of Monster cables say HDTV anywhere on the package? If not, why are you considering them for your HDTV system?

    (because you have been over-whelmed by the Monster propaganda that makes you feel stupid so you start to believe that "7 turbine cuts on the RCA plug" makes the cable worth $$ over the "5 straight cuts" on the lower end model. Monster's marketing department is good, very good.)

    The custom cables have the performance data to prove they can handle HDTV video signals. Monster does not. If you are going to upgrade, go with something that publishes real data, not marketing copy.
     
  4. Tom Martin

    Tom Martin Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks for the info, Bob. any brands you know of that have a good rep?
     
  5. Vincent_S

    Vincent_S Second Unit

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    I have tried four different component cables. Monster2, MonsterTHX standard, Bettercables older design before the Silver Serpent line, and Audioquest Cinemaquest YIQ2(which I am currently using). I noticed no difference between the four. The only reason I have tried so many is because I was moving equipment around and needed different lenghts at different times. IMO, I would stick with the cables you have unless they are damaged in some way.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I would stick with what you have but those Monster THX ones are fairly cheap at $30 or that is what I've seen them for at CC. That is cheaper than Rat Shack.
     
  7. dougW

    dougW Stunt Coordinator

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    I had some comments before now, but I kept quite. However, I decided to speak up.

    Michael, "as good a signal as you need", or the best he can possibly have? Is there a difference? I think that there is.

    Bob, some valid comments for sure.

    Vincent, I'm curious, did you do a side by side comparison of all those cables? Or are you going from "video memory" as to what looked like what over a course of time, say 1 year? 2 years? I've not personally used any of the cables in your grouping, so I can't profess to say one is actually better than the other, or different. All I'm saying is, you throw that statement out there real easily. I just would like to know if it's justified. You can't possibly look at a cable a year ago for example, and say, oh, the one I have now is the same as it was. No one's video memory is that good.

    Even swapping out cables, it's difficult to remember how cable A looked 5 minutes ago compared to cable B. To truly do a fair comparison requires setup of multiple same type displays and sources, or at the least switch boxes to change back and forth very quickly.

    Shane, is cheap always best?

    Lex
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I'm sure there's a difference. I just don't think it's relevant here.

    M.
     
  9. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    No in fact I'd say never however many people harp on the high cost of Monster and the low cost off Rat Shack when in fact they are more expensive.
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    All the sites I listed in that link have a good reputation. A few months ago a fellow HTF member bought a cable from BetterCables for his new plasma TV. He got it, but it appeared to not work. He posted a question here and the next day the president of BetterCables phoned him to help diagnose the problem. (Turned out the user had not plugged into the correct jacks.) You WONT get that kind of service from Monster.
     
  11. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    Those attenuation figures are at *100* feet. At the more typical 12-15 feet, you don't have to worry at all for analog HD, any decent video cable will do. Certainly you don't need to have it labeled "HDTV" unless you like paying extra just for ink on the carton.

    You only really need the better performing cables if you are doing uncompressed digital video over long runs. Analog HD over short runs is just not anywhere close to any video cable's limit, even though they were used to carry much lower frequencies for many years.
     
  12. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Uhhhh.... not really. Dont discount the hard data just because it was measured in longer lengths than you need.

    Look at the curves I posted above. Look at the odd shape. The things that are shoving that response up/down are a combination of things.

    Some of these things are length-dependent (like resistance).

    Other issues are length-independent (like impedence). A 1 ft cable and a 100 ft cable have the same impedence - hard concept but true.

    There are other factors like rate-of-return, return-loss, capacitance, dynamic impedence, the dielectric used in the cable, etc.

    You DONT have to have a degree in physics or engineering to select a cable. You can see the effect of many of these factors on the Frequency Response chart. This answers the question "What will all these issues do to my signal strength?"

    The 100' length is just the standard used by the companies so you can COMPARE the cables. If you needed a 20' cable and:

    - Company A: showed results for 10' of their coax
    - Company B: showed results for 100' of their coax

    Could you honestly compare the two cables? Which one would you choose?
     
  13. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    But for the effect that those curves are measuring, attenuation loss, it clearly decreases with both frequency and length. At the distance and frequencies for your typical HD analog application, the difference between cables becomes negligible. You just don't need the lower loss cable for this application; you won't notice the difference.

    (BTW the odd shape of the curve on your chart is just caused by the change in the frequency scale axis; you'll notice the beginning of the scale is going 50 - 100- 200 - 400, doubling each increment, while the top is 700-900-1000).
     
  14. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Then you know about "Slant Compensation" for the coax. This is a perfect result of the non-linear issues I was talking about.

    Slant Compensation:

    Your analog cable tv system produces 30 or 50 channels, each one at a different carrier frequency. Here is a problem: Channel 2 will travel down about 300 yards of coax before it drops X% in signal strength. But channel 5 will travel down 450 yards before it drops the same X%.

    The solution is an amplifier. But you have a problem. Put the amplifier too close and it over-amplifies some channels, is just perfect for some in the middle, and under-amplifies others.

    The solution is to use a "Slant Compensator" or a amp with built-in slant compensation. This circuit basically reduces the low-frequency signals a lot, the middle-range frequencies a bit and the higher frequency signals not at all. The result is all the channels/frequencies are now at roughly the same signal strength. You feed the result into a amplifier (which tries to amplify all the frequencies by the same amount) and you now have all the channels back up to full strength for the next run down the coax.

    So it's a tricky problem because while you get 1.6 dbmv drop for 50 Mhz, it's less of a drop for frequencies below this and more of a drop for frequencies above this.
     
  15. Vincent_S

    Vincent_S Second Unit

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    dougW, I was able to a side by side comparison with the Monster THX and the Bettercables(Canare), no difference. Then a few months later I was also able to a side by side on the Monster THX and the Audioquests, no difference. Why did I switch you ask? The Monsters were 16' long and I didn't like having all the extra cable when I only needed 9' so I got the Audioquests. My comparisons were done on a 61" HD ready SharpVision which displays 540p native [​IMG]. My "video memory" only had to be 1 or 2 minutes max at the time of each comparison. Just trying to help someone out. It's not brain surgery.
     
  16. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    That's a very good point. It's hard enough to accurately compare to pieces of gear in an immediate A/B test, as with two speakers, for example.

    Typically, people will say they replaced their interconnect and noticed a subtle but, nonetheless, real difference. But for this to be accurate, the person doing the comparison would have to be able to hold a precise memory of the previous audio and/or video which they could then compare to the new audio and/or video.

    Add to that normal human vanity, which makes people unlikely to admit that the $100 cable they just bought doesn't do any better a job than the $10 cable it replaced (because what idiot would waste $100 on a needless upgrade?), and you have a situation that doesn't make accurate comparison likely.

    People can talk about attenuation and everything else, but what gets my attention is an A/B comparison where the subjects are not told in advance which choice they are exposed to when. Oddly enough, you don't find many premium-priced cable manufacturers willing to put their much-vaunted products up to such a simple test.
     
  17. Tom Martin

    Tom Martin Stunt Coordinator

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    nope, the Monster cables i was thinking about go for $99 at CC, i just checked. Bob, i'll go through your information again and see what i can pick out. thanks again!
     
  18. EduardoBonifaz

    EduardoBonifaz Stunt Coordinator

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